Europe is quite dependent on imports of minerals, including those from Russia and China. According to the European Commission, the European Union (EU) imports more than 80% of the minerals it needs for its industry, including critical minerals such as rare earth elements. China is the largest supplier of rare earth elements to the EU, followed by Russia. The EU also imports a significant amount of other minerals, including copper, nickel, and platinum group metals, from Russia and China. This dependence on imports of minerals, particularly from a small number of countries, can increase the risk of supply disruptions and price volatility.
A mineral lifeline for the EU?
The discovery of rare earth metals in Arctic Sweden is significant because these metals are crucial for the production of high-tech devices such as smartphones, wind turbines, electric vehicles and military equipment. The discovery of a large deposit in Sweden could potentially reduce the dependence on foreign sources of these metals and provide a domestic source for the European Union. Additionally, the Arctic location of the deposit could also make mining and transportation more efficient.
What does this mean for the mining industry?
The exploitation of these resources will take years, but it is a positive signal for the gradual shift to net zero. Electrification, a goal in the EU, is already set to drive up demand for metals and minerals. Nevertheless, Covid 19 and the war in Ukraine have shown the instability in a number of markets. Companies should have comprehensive contingency plans for the world of the future. Simultaneously, the mining industry needs to consider how to plan the roadmap of mining 4.0.
Join key decision makers at the 2nd Energy Transition for the Metals and Mining Industry conference, on January 19-20th, in Toronto, Canada. Industry leaders will gather to discuss and exchange the best practices for implementing green fuel and sustainable infrastructure. Visit future-bridge.eu or mining-events.com and follow us on our social media to keep track of other events about sustainability in the mining and metals industry.